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About Me



"Though she be but little, she is fierce..." (Shakespeare)

Rollie teaching in action
these-shining-lives-purdue-2017 DIRECTIN
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Emily A. Rollie

A freelance theatre director, intimacy choreographer, actor, and educator, Emily Rollie has acted in and directed productions in Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, New York, California, Idaho, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Illinois.  


Emily completed her Master’s degree in theatre production, with an emphasis on directing, at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, where she received a certificate of merit in directing from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for her work on Boneheads, an original student-written work, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a touring children’s production.While living in the Seattle-Tacoma area, she worked as a freelance director with theatres around the Seattle-Tacoma and South Sound area.


Emily received her PhD in theatre from the University of Missouri - Columbia. Her primary research areas include directing, women/feminist theatre, and Canadian theatre, all of which culminated in her doctoral dissertation (and current book project): "Women of the Northern Stage: Gender, Nationality, and Identity and the Work of Canadian Women Stage Directors."  Her scholarly work has been published in Theatre Annual, Canadian Theatre Review, Theatre History StudiesTheatre Survey, and Theatre Journal.  Other publications include:

  • An essay, "Intimate Relation(ship)s: The Development of Director-Performer Relationships in Feminist Solo Performance" in About Directing (edited by Anna Migliarsi, 2014)

  • An article, "Teaching the 'Intangibles': Building Pedagogical Bridges Between Business, Entrepreneurship, and Theatre" in New Directions in Teaching Theatre Arts (edited by Anne Fliotsos and Gail Medford, 2018)

  • A co-written article with Dr. Natashia Lindsay, "Beyond ‘Yes, and…': Consent in the Theatre Arts Curriculum, On-stage and Off" in Consent: Legacies, Representations, & Frameworks for the Future (edited by Franklin, Piercy, Thampuran, & White, 2023)

  • An article, "Relaxed Readiness, Increased Awareness, and Intimacy Protocols: Increasing Actors’ Agency and Authenticity in Stanislavsky’s System" in Stanislavsky & Intimacy (edited by Joelle Ré Arp-Dunham, 2023)

  • An editorial essay, "Consent in/as Collaboration: Teaching Consent and Intimacy Practices in the Directing Classroom" in SDC Journal Peer Reviewed Section (2024)

  • A forthcoming edited book, Milestones in Staging Genders & Sexualities (2024)


In July 2016, Emily returned to Central Washington University - this time as a faculty member in the Department of Theatre Arts and associate faculty member in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. There, she teaches directing, acting, theatre pedagogy, theatre history, and staging genders for undergraduate and graduate students. She also co-coordinates the BFA Performance program. Prior to teaching at CWU, Emily spent three years as an assistant professor of theatre at Monmouth College, a liberal arts college in Illinois.  

Emily also spent five years as the artistic director of Independent Actors Theatre (IAT), a "purposefully nomadic" theatre company in Columbia, Missouri, for which she also directed productions and organized the annual short Women's Play Festival (the plays are short, not the women!).  While in Missouri, she was the associate director of the Troubling Violence Performance Project (TVPP), a group dedicated to opening lines of communication about issues of relationship violence through the performance of personal narratives, for four years, and she began the Monmouth branch of TVPP in 2014.  She also has directed for TRYPS Children's Theatre and other youth theatre groups.  

Emily particularly enjoys directing new plays - having worked with IAT"s short Women's Play Festival and the Playwriting Symposium of the Mid-America Theatre Conference. In 2018, she directed Cold Spring, a new play by Victor Lesniewski, as part of Campfire Theatre Festival in Boise, Idaho, and she has directed for Voices of the Earth New Play Festival in Bemidji, Minnesota. She is also interested in directing new works by solo performers and has collaborated frequently with storyteller Milbre Burch on pieces such as Changing Skins and Sometimes I Sing

An associate faculty member for Theatrical Intimacy Education, Emily works professionally as an intimacy choreographer and educator. She has choreographed for plays including Stupid F**king BirdIn the Next Room or the vibrator play, In the Blood, These Shining Lives, Nora: A Doll's House, As You Like It, and more.

Emily is also an associate member of the SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society) and a co-editor of the SDC Journal Peer Reviewed Section.

Outside of theatre, Emily is a yoga practitioner and instructor, distance runner, coffee lover, globetrotter (of the traveling, rather than the basketball-playing, kind), and a Wonder Woman and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. She is regularly "assisted" in all of her work by Bogart the Cat.

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